Using and Emulator


I am moving us over to the KoBo Users Group so that everyone can benefit from our technical discussion. If you are not a member of the KoBo User’s Group, you can join at:

Sometimes working with an emulator instead of a real Android device can be problematic. So, to troubleshoot, let’s answer three questions:

  1. Do you really have an emulator running?
  2. Does your emulator device have an SDcard?
  3. Is your survey being copied correctly to the /forms/ directory, where KoBoCollect can find it?

If you have an emulator running, it means you have the android tools installed on your computer and you should be able to run Android Debug Bridge. If you have any problems, the answer is probably in the guide to Using the Android Emulator.

Run your emulator, then open a command terminal (in windows, pop up the start menu, type “CMD” in the Run box.)

Now you have the old fashioned computer command terminal. This is very useful for trouble shooting using Android Debug Bridge.

Type at the prompt “adb devices”

mojotexas@Starjammer ~ $ adb devices

List of devices attached
SH06EPB01400 device

You should get output like above, though your device name will have the word “emulator” in it. My phone is called “SH06EPB01400”

If that works, you know you have an working emulator.

If that does not work, when you type “adb devices” your output will be nothing. If it does not list a device, then you are not running an emulator. That would explain everything. If that is the issue, see the link above for “Using the Android Emulator”

Assuming, you do have an emulator, the question is, does your emulator have an SD card? And, is your survey being copied into the forms directory? You can create an emulator and run it even without a virtual SDcard on it. If you forgot to create an SDcard, you would not be able to copy forms and use KoBoCollect. If you forgot to create a virtual SDcard, you can refer to the documentation on Creating an SDcard image.

If you think you did it right, let’s check by trying to get a listing of the contents of the forms directory. Again we will use the terminal, and this command: “adb ls /sdcard/odk/forms/”

mojotexas@Starjammer ~ $ adb ls /sdcard/odk/forms/
0000403d 00002000 4f7128d0 .

0000403d 00002000 4f4e23b0 …
0000803d 00005636 4f621474 Morning.xml

0000803d 0005222c 4f5ce41a Liberia_Survey.xml

So, if you run that command, and you get a reply like “no such file or directory” then the problem is that you don’t have an SDcard set up on your emulator. Refer to the help for Creating an SDcard image.

If you do get some return other than that, copy and paste it into an email and send it back to the KoBo Users mailing list so we can take a look at it. While you are at it, you might as well send your XML form along so we can see if there is something wrong with the file extension or something that would cause it not to show up in KoBoCollect.

One way or the other, we’ll make sure you can test your survey.

~Neil Hendrick
KoBo Developer


2012/4/3 Ali Engin

Hi, Neil.

A few days ago you said me "Copy the survey from the Desktop (or wherever you saved it) to the SDcard of your Android in the location /sdcard/odk/forms/ " in order to start up my survey in kobo admin. I have did that steps but again the kobo admin could not open the forms. In the kobo admin the device see my form with an extention .xml::null

İf you could help me ı will be very pleasure.

one note: Since I do not have an android device I have installed an emulator on m computer and I set a virtual android device on emulator. I copied forms into virtual sd card in odk/forms.

Thanks for your patient and help.


30 Mart 2012 12:02 tarihinde Ali Engin yazdı:

Thanks for your response Hendrick. I will try to do that you wrote. I will need your help more…

Kind regards, Ali

29 Mart 2012 18:39 tarihinde Neil Hendrick yazdı:

Hi Ali,

Glad to see you managed to build a form in KoBoForm, i see what you are doing and you just need to save your survey from your desktop to your device. This is described in the User Guide:

  • Using a USB cable, plug the Android into your PC.

Mount the SDcard of your Android so that it is available in My Computer as an external drive, like a USB stick.

Copy the survey from the Desktop (or wherever you saved it) to the SDcard of your Android in the location /sdcard/odk/forms/

Please let me know if that helps,

~Neil Hendrick

Team KoBo

2012/3/29 Ali Engin

Hİ. I’m Ali from Turkey. I have graduated from university and now I’m working on an educational project. To collect data via a questioanare I’ve tried to use your Kobo Form Builder. Here I have some problems.

  1. Firstly I build my questionare on kobo online form as it is directed in tutorial. At the end I want to save my study in browser and on my desktop. On desktop it is saved as xml file. On browser I could not reopen it any more unfortunately.

  2. After I finished and saved my study I want to run it on my computer(windows) but it is not possible because the tutorial says that you have to use an android device. So I used my android device and I downloaded Kobo collect on my device. than I touch on “get new form”. But it could not open my study that I have prepared.

The Question is that: May I open and answer a questionare on android? Why kobo collect give error when Itry to start up a form in my device? How can I see user interface easly on my android and computer(if possible)?

Thanks for your studies and patient.

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